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Murray downs Bautista to claim third Shanghai crown

Andy Murray powered to a third Shanghai Masters title with a 7-6(1) 6-1 victory over Roberto Bautista. The Scot closed the gap to Novak Djokovic in the rankings to keep alive his hopes of ending the year as No. 1. Spaniard Bautista challenged Murray with his powerful forehands and sharp angles in the first set, keeping the second-seeded Scot on the defensive and forcing him to commit errors. Serving for the set at 5-4, Murray appeared distracted by movement in the crowd and wasted three set points before Bautista broke back to level the match. Murray settled down in the tiebreaker, however, and closed out the second set in just 31 minutes. He had 16 unforced errors in the opening set, but only three after that. "In the last few months, I have won a lot of matches and made improvements. I have been moving forward better and changed the direction of the ball better," Murray told reporters. "I have also come up with some bigger serves when I have needed them." Bautista, the 15th-seed, upset Djokovic in the semifinals, but faced an uphill task to capture the title: No player outside the top 10 had beaten the top two ranked players in the same tournament since David Nalbandian knocked out Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal to win the Paris Masters in 2007. Plus, Bautista had to play Murray. And nobody is performing better on tour at the moment. After triumphing at Wimbledon and the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, Murray hasn't let up this autumn: He hasn't lost a set in his last 10 matches in Asia, winning back-to-back titles at the China Open and in Shanghai. Dominant force His win on Sunday was also his 65th of the season (best on the tour) and gave him his sixth trophy (tying a career best). With Federer injured, Nadal still trying to regain his form and confidence and Djokovic dealing with the effects of a mentally exhausting season, Murray has established himself as the dominant force in the game. He is 915 points behind Serb Djokovic with three tournaments remaining and the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals could play a key role in deciding the year-end number one. "My goal wasn't to finish number one at the end of this year but in the early parts of next year there is an opportunity -- 900 points doesn't seem like loads," Murray added. "But Novak will win matches. He is the best player in the world. I don't think he has lost an indoor game in a long time."

Andy Murray powered to a third Shanghai Masters title with a 7-6(1) 6-1 victory over Roberto Bautista. The Scot closed the gap to Novak Djokovic in the rankings to keep alive his hopes of ending the year as No. 1. Spaniard Bautista challenged Murray with his powerful forehands and sharp angles in the first set, keeping the second-seeded Scot on ... Read More »

SPD chief reportedly favors theologian Käßmann as German presidency candidate

Social Democrat (SPD) chief Sigmar Gabriel wants to see Protestant theologian Margot Käßmann in the running to be Joachim Gauck's successor, German media has reported. The new president will be elected in February, 2017. Several German newspapers belonging to the "Funke Media Group" reported on Wednesday that Social Democrat (SPD) chief and Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel wants to see Margot Käßmann become a candidate for the German presidency. According to Wednesday's reports, Käßmann is yet to confirm whether she wants to stand as a candidate to become Germany's 12th post-war president. Gabriel, however, has reportedly asked for a second meeting with Käßmann to discuss her candidacy further. Käßmann, a Lutheran theologian was previously Bishop of the Protestant-Lutheran Church of Hanover. In 2009, she was elected to lead the German Protestant Church, but stepped down four months later after driving through a red light whilst driving under the influence of alcohol. 'Open-minded' Left Party chairman Bernd Riexinger also confirmed on Wednesday that Gabriel had already discussed with the Left whether they would support Käßmann's potential candidacy. Riexinger told German paper "Berliner Zeitung": "We want a candidate who is open-minded and stands for social justice and a peaceful foreign policy." "Ms Käßmann would meet [this requirement], without doubt." At the same time, however, Riexinger said the leftists were not very enthusiastic about the public speculations about Käßmann. "It would be regrettable if the Grand Coalition played tactical gimmicks with the Federal President's office or with Frau Käßmann," Riexinger said. One-term Gauck Despite the talks with the Left, "Funke Media Group" reported that Gabriel still favors a consensus with the SPD's Grand Coalition partners - Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats and their Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU). Unlike the German chancellor, the German president chosen not by popular vote, but rather selected by what's known as the Federal Convention. It's comprised in equal parts of the Bundestag parliamentary delegates and representatives from Germany's sixteen federal states - thereby reflecting the relative strengths of Germany's political parties both nationwide and locally. Gauck's successor is due to be elected by Germany's Federal Assembly on February 12, 2017. Merkel had originally hoped that he would serve a second term, but the 76-year-old announced in June that he would not run for a second term as head of state. Gauck, a former Lutheran pastor, said he was worried about his ability to continue devoting enough energy to the job if he continued into his eighties. Although the German president is nominally the head of state, aside from certain constitutional duties, his function is largely ceremonial.

Social Democrat (SPD) chief Sigmar Gabriel wants to see Protestant theologian Margot Käßmann in the running to be Joachim Gauck’s successor, German media has reported. The new president will be elected in February, 2017. Several German newspapers belonging to the “Funke Media Group” reported on Wednesday that Social Democrat (SPD) chief and Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel wants to see Margot ... Read More »

Julian Draxler: Scoring again for Germany was good for my self-confidence

Julian Draxler scored his first goal in World Cup qualifying as Germany beat Northern Ireland 2-0. While this may have strengthened his position on the national team, the same old worries await him back in Wolfsburg. A good hour after the final whistle, Julian Draxler slipped past the TV cameras, parked himself off to the side of the waiting journalists and tapped on his mobile phone. The 23-year-old had his baseball cap pulled down low and beside him stood his small suitcase. "I got some messages about my goal, but nothing out of the ordinary," the attacking player said. "But I was actually just waiting for my family." Draxler's parents had followed Germany's 2-0 win from the stands, a match that featured a good performance by their son. Draxler beamed as he accepted his parents' congratulations. "I'm relieved, I hadn't scored for the past weeks," the national team member explained. "It was great to score a goal today, it was important for my self-confidence and my ego." Draxler, who had already left a good impression in his previous two World Cup-qualifying matches, put Germany in the lead with his goal in the 13th minute - a strike hit from the top of the box. It was the third start in a row for Draxler, who was a member of the German squad that won the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. This is an indication of the trust placed in him by national team coach Joachim Löw. "I believe I performed well at the European Championships and worked by way towards inclusion in the first 11," he said. "We have a lot of good players at my position, so getting the start in the past two games is a good sign." In fact, the Wolfsburg attacker does seems to have played himself into the first team through his form in France in the summer, where he also rewarded Löw's trust in him. And Draxler is continuing to make a good case for himself. 'We are in a difficult situation' While things are going well for him with the national team Draxler continues to struggle for form at Wolfsburg and his critics have been getting louder. They accuse him of not trying hard enough, or of not having the right attitude. Following his demand that he be allowed to leave the club last summer, Draxler has come in for increased scrutiny. "The hard work continues," Draxler said. "I want to have success with my club as well." It is simply a different environment, club and country are two different things, he said, while at the same time rejecting the suggestion that he works harder for the national team than at club level. "We are in a difficult situation in Wolfsburg," he said."We can only get out of it by working together." Heavy criticism The confident attacker now hopes to be able to transfer the positive energy from his national team experiences to his club. However, the former Schalke player knows that this is easier said than done, as complaints get louder with every mistake he makes. Draxler and his teammates haven't won any of their last five games. And he hasn't scored a single goal for his club this season. Just like his friend Mario Gomez, who joined Wolfsburg during the summer transfer window. "We are focused on the next task at hand. We can't change anything else anyway," Draxler said. One of his main goals for the future is to be part of the German team that will seek to defend their World Cup title at the 2018 tournament in Russia, although it seems unlikely that he will still be in Wolfsburg by that time. On this evening in Hanover Draxler enjoyed his last few hours with the national team - for now - in the knowledge that just being part of the squad is a special privilege. "I enjoy every minute of it and I regard myself as a part of this team, because it's simply a lot of fun," he said.

Julian Draxler scored his first goal in World Cup qualifying as Germany beat Northern Ireland 2-0. While this may have strengthened his position on the national team, the same old worries await him back in Wolfsburg. A good hour after the final whistle, Julian Draxler slipped past the TV cameras, parked himself off to the side of the waiting journalists ... Read More »

Toni Kroos extends Real Madrid contract until 2022

The Germany midfielder's previous deal wasn't set to expire until 2020. However, the Spanish giants have upgraded his deal to keep him at the club for a further two years at a reported pay rise. German international Toni Kroos has extended his contract with Spanish giants Real Madrid until June 30, 2022, the La Liga club announced on Wednesday. Even before he signed the extension, Kroos' contract would have kept him at the club until June 30 2020, however, Real, who have won the Spanish league a record 32 times, clearly felt obliged to upgrade his contract. According to German mass-circulation newspaper "Bild," the new contract will see Kroos earn no less than 120 million Euros ($132 million) over the next six years. This would make Kroos the highest-paid German player in professional football. The former Bayern Munich star is a vital cog in Zindane Zidane's starting 11, having played in all but one of Madrid's games this season. He also tends to be one of the first names that Joachim Löw puts down when he fills out his lineup sheet before a German national team match.

The Germany midfielder’s previous deal wasn’t set to expire until 2020. However, the Spanish giants have upgraded his deal to keep him at the club for a further two years at a reported pay rise. German international Toni Kroos has extended his contract with Spanish giants Real Madrid until June 30, 2022, the La Liga club announced on Wednesday. Even ... Read More »

World Cup qualifying: Thomas Müller strikes twice as Germany down Czech Republic

Joachim Löw demanded greater ruthlessness in front of goal ahead of his side's latest World Cup qualifier. He wasn't disappointed as Germany put three past the Czech Republic in Hamburg. Germany 3-0 Czech Republic Muller 13', 65' Kroos 49' Thomas Müller scored another brace for his country as Germany eased to a 3-0 win over the Czech Republic in Hamburg. The Bayern Munich forward gave Germany the lead early on with a neat finish after good work by Mario Götze and Mesut Özil. Toni Kroos made it 2-0 shortly after the break with a superb finish from distance, and Müller got his second midway through the second half, wrapping up the win with a close-range finish. Coach Joachim Löw demanded a stronger attacking performance from his side, with a shyness in front of goal ultimately costing them at the European Championship. But there were no such problems on a cold Saturday night at the Volksparkstadion, with a near full-strength Germany causing a timid Czech Republic side problems from the start. Germany opened the scoring in the 13th minute after a slick move including three of their brightest players on the night. Götze's dangerous run had the visitors' defence stretched, he found Özil who helped the ball onto Müller to finish well into the bottom corner. It was Müller's first goal in nearly a month, and there were others that felt they could get on the scoresheet. Julian Draxler enjoyed a lively game and almost doubled Germany's lead when he bent a shot a whisker wide of the post after Götze had found him. With the second half barely five minutes old, Germany moved 2-0 up – and it was a beautiful finish by Toni Kroos from outside the box. Joshua Kimmich, who started at right-back again after his goal-scoring international debut against Norway last month, created the chance with a driving run and cross from the right, and Kroos delicately guided the ball into the bottom corner with a first-time shot. Czech Republic struggled to trouble Germany at all on the night, with Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels reunited in central defence on a quiet night for the German defence. The victory was not in doubt after the second, but Müller added a third to notch up another win for Löw's side, stabbing in from close-range after Özil and Hector combined. Germany host Northern Ireland in Hanover on Tuesday night as they look to maintain their 100 percent start to World Cup 2018 qualifying.

Joachim Löw demanded greater ruthlessness in front of goal ahead of his side’s latest World Cup qualifier. He wasn’t disappointed as Germany put three past the Czech Republic in Hamburg. Germany 3-0 Czech Republic Muller 13′, 65′ Kroos 49′ Thomas Müller scored another brace for his country as Germany eased to a 3-0 win over the Czech Republic in Hamburg. ... Read More »

Rosberg pips Hamilton for pole position in Japan Formula One GP

The German has clocked the fastest lap in Saturday's qualifying round, beating his Mercedes teammate by just over one-hundredth of a second. The German leads the World Championship by 23 points with five races to go. Nico Rosberg will start from pole position at Sunday's Japanese Formula One Grand Prix. The German pipped his Mercedes teammate, Lewis Hamilton, by just over one-hundredth of a second to clock the fastest lap time during Saturday's qualifying round. Hamilton will start alongside Rosberg in second position, while Kimi Raikkonen locked down third place in his Ferrari. After winning last week's Malaysian GP, Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo will start in sixth, behind his teammate Max Verstappen. Rosberg clocked his fastest lap at 1 minute and 30.647 seconds on the 5.8-kilometer (3.6 miles) long Suzuka Circuit, just .013 seconds faster than his teammate and championship rival. With five races remaining this season, Rosberg enjoys a 23-point lead over Hamilton, after the Brit was forced to retire in Malaysia due to engine failure. This is the German's 30th career pole position and his eighth this season. However, experience tells Rosberg that there will be no room for complacency on Sunday. The last two years, he has qualified in pole position in Japan, but on both occasions was beaten to the finish line by Hamilton. The Japanese Grand Prix starts at 5 a.m. UTC on Sunday.

The German has clocked the fastest lap in Saturday’s qualifying round, beating his Mercedes teammate by just over one-hundredth of a second. The German leads the World Championship by 23 points with five races to go. Nico Rosberg will start from pole position at Sunday’s Japanese Formula One Grand Prix. The German pipped his Mercedes teammate, Lewis Hamilton, by just ... Read More »

Schalke crush Gladbach to ease crisis, Wolfsburg toil in front of goal

Schalke produced a superb performance against Borussia Mönchengladbach to ease their crisis, while a lack of cutting edge in front of goal cost Wolfsburg again. Schalke 4-0 Gladbach (Choupo-Moting pen. 52', Embolo 56' 82', Goretzka 58') Schalke scored three goals in six devastating second half minutes to crush Borussia Mönchengladbach and clamber out of the Bundesliga bottom three. Breel Embolo scored twice and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting converted a penalty, with a late Leon Goretzka strike capping a fine win for Markus Weinzierl's struggling team. Markus Weinzierl’s team selection was spot on, matching Gladbach's three defenders with three attackers, which restricted free-scoring Gladbach to just two shots in the first half. Alessandro Schöpf nearly put the hosts ahead in the first half when he poked the ball away from Nico Elvedi, but his shot sailed harmlessly into the arms of Yann Sommer. Foals coach Andre Schubert tried to go for the win, replacing defender Yannik Vestegaard with captain Lars Stindl. The switch backfired as Schalke cranked their attacking power up a notch. Choupo-Moting earned a penalty when Ibrahima Traore brought him down in the penalty area, and the forward gave Schalke the lead with the ensuing penalty kick. Embolo doubled the lead four minutes later on the counter-attack, his first ever Bundesliga goal causing the Veltins Arena crowd to cheer so loud that the Swiss international had to cover his ears. Leon Goretzka capped the quick scoring run two minutes later when he tapped in a saved Choupo-Moting shot from just outside the six-yard box. Embolo got a second not long before time, dribbling around Sommer and rolling the ball into the empty net. Vestergaard could only hold his face in disgust from the sidelines, as he watched his team fall apart. The win ends Schalke’s nightmare five-game losing streak, and they will look for victory number two in Augsburg after the international break. Wolfsburg 0-0 Mainz A lack of cutting edge in front of goal deprived Wolfsburg of a much-needed victory as Mainz held firm for a point in a goalless draw. Wolfsburg dominated much of the contest, but a defensively disciplined Mainz kept things tight in the first half, frustrating Dieter Hecking's side for long periods. Julian Draxler saw a goal disallowed for offside on 16 minutes, putting the ball in the net after Mario Gomez created the chance – but the former Schalke man had strayed into an offside position. Jakub Blaszczykowski came closest in the first half, stinging the palms of Mainz keeper Jonas Lössl with a sweetly hit volley. Mainz grew in confidence as the game matured, but they only had eyes for a point as Wolfsburg threw everything at them, increasingly desperate for a goal. Gomez, still goalless since joining Wolfsburg in the summer, threatened as the game went on, stabbing just wide from close range before somehow failing to get on the end of Draxler's cross from the right, which Lössl did well to get his fingertips to to deny Gomez a tap in. The game's biggest chance fell to Draxler, who had to score when he took the ball around Lössl and simply had to tuck the ball away, but Giulio Donati got back to clear off the line – much to the exasperation of the home fans. Wolfsburg's wait for a second Bundesliga victory goes on, and the under-pressure Hecking will be desperate for a win against in-form RB Leipzig when the Bundesliga resumes after the international break.

Schalke produced a superb performance against Borussia Mönchengladbach to ease their crisis, while a lack of cutting edge in front of goal cost Wolfsburg again. Schalke 4-0 Gladbach (Choupo-Moting pen. 52′, Embolo 56′ 82′, Goretzka 58′) Schalke scored three goals in six devastating second half minutes to crush Borussia Mönchengladbach and clamber out of the Bundesliga bottom three. Breel Embolo ... Read More »

Champions League: Dortmund earn deserved point at home to holders Real Madrid

Borussia Dortmund twice came from behind to earn a deserved 2-2 Group F draw at home to European champions Real Madrid. Substitute Andre Schürrle smashed in the equalizer three minutes from time at Signal Iduna Park. After spending heavily over the summer, Dortmund had high hopes of continuing their winning run at home to Real, who they had beaten in their previous three meetings in Germany. Early free kicks from Ronaldo and Gonzalo Castro forced good saves from Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Bürki and his Real counterpart Keylor Navas respectively before Real snatched the lead in the 17th minute. Gareth Bale’s clever back heel squirmed through to Ronaldo and he stabbed a shot across Bürki and into the far corner, the Portugal captain’s record extending 95th Champions League goal. Dortmund pressed immediately for an equalizer and Ousmane Dembele’s effort was deflected over the crossbar by Sergio Ramos in the 25th minute before Sokratis Papastathopoulos tested Navas with a header. Blasted over Dortmund were level two minutes before halftime. Navas attempted to clear Raphael Guerreiro’s free kick but punched the ball against team mate Raphael Varane and Aubameyang stabbed the ball over the line. It was the Gabon forward’s seventh goal in nine appearances for Dortmund this season. The pacy and skillful Dembele was causing problems for Real fullback Danilo and the French teenager blasted over when well placed six minutes into the second half. Navas parried a curling Aubameyang effort moments later before the ever-dangerous Ronaldo failed to capitalize on an inviting Ramos centre, sending a glancing header wide. Real were back in front in the 68th minute when Karim Benzema volleyed a Ronaldo centre onto the frame of the goal and Varane was on hand to put the loose ball over the line. Guerreiro forced a good save from Navas with a powerful drive two minutes later and the Costa Rican was by far the busier of the two keepers in the closing stages. Dortmund midfielder Christian Pulisic had given the home side some real zip after coming on in the 73rd minute and it was his cross that eventually fell to fellow substitute Schürrle three minutes from time. The German international steadied himself before crashing a left-foot shot into the roof of the net. Both sides went in search of a late winner but the final action of the game was a brief melee in the Real area which resulted in a yellow card for Aubameyang. Unsavory conclusion It was a slightly unsavory conclusion to what had been an entertaining spectacle. "It looked for a long time as if we weren't going to be able to turn the game around so we're pleased that we showed courage and believed in the draw," Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel said. "We are not completely happy with the 2-2 but we are a long way from not being able to value the result for what it is," he added. "It feels good not to lose having twice been behind. But we have the feeling we could have done better." Tuchel's Real counterpart Zinedine Zidane was annoyed his team had twice let the lead slip in what was their third draw in a row after two stalemates in La Liga. "I am angry because we played a great match, with a lot of effort," the former France and Real great told reporters. "In defense and attack we did what we set out to do but at the end it was the same result for the third game in a row." In the other match in Group F, Sporting Lisbon beat Legia Warsaw 2-0. Sporting have three points from two games, with Dortmund and Real both on four. Dortmund vs Real Madrid: As it happened Other Champions League results: Monaco 1-1 Leverkusen CSKA 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur Sporting 2-0 Legia Warsaw Copenhagen 4-0 Club Brugge Leicester 1-0 Porto Dinamo 0-4 Juventus Sevilla 1-0 Lyon

Borussia Dortmund twice came from behind to earn a deserved 2-2 Group F draw at home to European champions Real Madrid. Substitute Andre Schürrle smashed in the equalizer three minutes from time at Signal Iduna Park. After spending heavily over the summer, Dortmund had high hopes of continuing their winning run at home to Real, who they had beaten in ... Read More »

Brits fall for Klopp’s charm as he turns TV pundit

Liverpool's manager was Sky's guest on Monday evening, appearing on a football show and impressing viewers. With the Reds scoring goals for fun early in the season, Jürgen Klopp's stock is soaring in the UK. Jürgen Klopp's TV punditry credentials date all the way back to the Confederations Cup of 2005, when his appearances on public broadcaster ZDF helped cement his celebrity status in Germany. He only quit the role over fears that the work would overshadow his impending challenge coaching Borussia Dortmund. Klopp's prior experience was no secret even to British audiences and the local press heading into the show. Despite the hype, most viewers were not disappointed. Klopp displayed his trademark straight-talking brand of tactical insights, mixed with a healthy dose of humility. Asked early on about his playing career, Klopp said that he was "really quick and a good header" of the ball, but added he could not have earned a place in one of his own teams. "On the ground, that was not my biggest strength," Klopp said. "One of my best things I did in my managing career was my first decision, when I became a manager I was a player the day before. And the first thing I said: 'But then I don't play anymore.' That helped the team a lot!" 'Oh no, no, no! What am I doing?' Sky had done their homework, segueing straight into perhaps one of the biggest blunders of Klopp's playing days, in a key second-division defeat for Mainz against Wolfsburg. Klopp sought to dribble the ball out of his own third of the pitch, clumsily conceding possession, leading to a goal seconds later. "Oh come on, don't start with this! Oh no, no, no! What am I doing?" Klopp chuckled. Co-analyst Jamie Carragher - a Liverpool defensive legend in his playing days with more than 700 appearances in red - teased that "you thought you were Beckenbauer." Carragher's attentive, almost doting gaze towards Liverpool's manager was the subject of some amusement online during the show. Anfield machine starts churning "Carra" has every reason to be infatuated. Liverpool are starting to click into gear under Klopp - leading the entire Premier League in goals scored, possession, tackles per game and sprints per game since the Stuttgarter took the reins. "It's better that we have an optimistic mood around. At this moment Liverpool feels good," Klopp said, confiding that he felt he and the team had now found their preferred playing shape. "What I loved in the first half against Hull [a 5-1 win last Saturday] was we were really flexible and then when we lost the ball we were wild boys in winning it back." Asked about the highly attacking influence of his two full backs - Nathaniel Clyne and James Milner - the 49-year-old said that they pushed forward so much because "we don't have wingers, really." With the front four playing more narrow, the overlap became more important he said, concluding that there was one basic rule for his outfielders when in possession and on the attack: "The rule is: be an option in terms of getting a pass, or be protection." For Kloppo, all bets are off On Tuesday, former Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier said that the new-look Liverpool should now be counted among the potential title contenders. "You only have to see with the number of goals they score, they have a new philosophy and I really like the coach," Houllier said at the Soccerex football event in Manchester. "The best is yet to come. They are definitely good enough." Klopp was more wary on the topic of the title, though, noting the strength throughout the Premier League and saying that LFC still needed to progress before seriously challenging. He was even confronted with bookmakers' odds in the UK putting Liverpool as second-favorites - albeit well adrift of Pep Guardiola's unbeaten Manchester City. "I don't even understand the numbers. Where I'm from you keep your money," Klopp said.

Liverpool’s manager was Sky’s guest on Monday evening, appearing on a football show and impressing viewers. With the Reds scoring goals for fun early in the season, Jürgen Klopp’s stock is soaring in the UK. Jürgen Klopp’s TV punditry credentials date all the way back to the Confederations Cup of 2005, when his appearances on public broadcaster ZDF helped cement ... Read More »

England boss Sam Allardyce sacked after newspaper sting

Sam Allardyce has been sacked as England manager. The 61-year-old, who has only overseen one match since taking over in July, was caught in a newspaper sting criticizing the English FA. Allardyce was accused of using his position to negotiate a 400,000 pound (460,000 euro, $517,000) deal with a football agency firm and was filmed criticizing both his predecessor Roy Hodgson, who he labeled "indecisive" and England players, who Allardayce said "couldn't cope" with the pressure at Euro 2016. In a video captured by English newspaper The Telegraph, Allardyce told the undercover reporters, posing as representatives of a firm based in the Far East, that it was "not a problem" to bypass rules enforced by his employers that ban companies or individuals from owning a financial stake in a footballer and thus profiting from transfers or new contracts. The FA said in a statement Allardyce's conduct had been "inappropriate" of an England manager and he had accepted making "an error of judgment" and had apologized. Serious nature "However, due to the serious nature of his actions, The FA and Allardyce have mutually agreed to terminate his contract with immediate effect," the statement said. Gareth Southgate, the current Under-21 coach, would take charge for the next four games against Malta, Slovenia, Scotland and Spain while the FA begins the search for a permanent replacement. FA chief executive Martin Glenn said it had been a "very difficult 24 hours". "In the light of the media allegations that we have seen we have concluded and Sam has agreed that his behavior has been inappropriate and frankly not what is expected of an England manager," he said. "Discussing a range of issues from potential contraventions of FA rules through to personal comments that frankly just don’t work when you’re the manager of England." A former West Ham United manager, Allardyce said he was aware of agents who bypassed the transfer rules "all the time" and said: “You can still get around it. I mean obviously the big money’s here.” Allardyce, who attended the meeting with his agent, Mark Curtis, and his financial adviser, Shane Moloney on July 22, before he'd taken charge of his first England match, talked about his signing of Ecuadorian Enner Valencia for West Ham from Mexican club Pachuca in 2014. “It’s not a problem… we got Valencia in. He was third party owned when we bought him from Mexico,” Allardyce said. Mr. Moloney made it clear that the ownership arrangement ended when the player moved to England. The 61-year-old, whose salary was about 3 million pounds (3.45 million euros, $3.89 million) per year, also agreed to visit Singapore and Hong Kong as an ambassador for the phoney agency with a 400,000 pound deal negotiated for the role. He went as far as to discuss dates for travelling to Singapore in a second meeting with the men in a Manchester restaurant. However, throughout the recordings, Allardayce repeatedly made it clear that any agreements would have to be cleared by his bosses at the FA. "I'll have to run it by the powers that be," he said. Not a first for an England boss In echoes of a News of the World sting in 2006 that saw then-England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson make ill-advised comments about David Beckham and Michael Owen, Allardyce also let slip his feelings on some prominent figures in the English game. He referred to Hodgson, who resigned after Euro 2016, as 'Woy', making light of his predecessor's speech impediment and called him “too indecisive” during England’s shock European Championship defeat to Iceland. He also said Hodgson's assistant Gary Neville was “the wrong influence” and should have been told to “sit down and shut up”. The sting was part of a 10-month Telegraph investigation on bribery and corruption in British football and it isn't the first time Allardyce's name has come up in media investigations. In 2006, he was implicated in a report by BBC program Panorama which alleged Allardyce took "bungs." He denied the claims and an independent investigation found no evidence of irregular payments.

Sam Allardyce has been sacked as England manager. The 61-year-old, who has only overseen one match since taking over in July, was caught in a newspaper sting criticizing the English FA. Allardyce was accused of using his position to negotiate a 400,000 pound (460,000 euro, $517,000) deal with a football agency firm and was filmed criticizing both his predecessor Roy ... Read More »

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